If I write everyday then I am a writer. Factual. If you exercise on a regular cadence you are a person of fitness. These last few days I have been at my wits end. I think my brain is done being elastic and is just snappy. Been a little less engaged and disappointed, but here I am showing up.
I have been caffeine free for 23 days. What started as a joke now is going to be a consistent in my life. Typical me, right? Make something funny, take on a dare, and this craving to always be learning seems to always lead me to trouble more often than not but sometimes I find some light. I will make this short because honestly I don’t know how many of you even read this blog or listen to my podcast. I am a writer, though because I am writing today!
I will dare you to try caffeine free or greatly reduced life. We have become so dependent on more than just caffeine. Give yourself some grace and try something that you feel is beyond you. Honestly, 23 days ago I laughed at this. Me caffeine free? Please. I gave myself this challenge and regardless how you feel about it, keeping my commitments to myself has been a major game changer for me. I had an easier time staying committed to this because I often reminded myself “you wanted to do this”. No one asked me to, no one had expectations of me, but I had them of myself. I was craving something new for a brain exercise, I needed some brain elasticity, and this sure did show up for me in that aspect.
To address the most important piece of my social experiment and first post (here) no, I am not any smarter. I do not think I have lost intelligence, but I definitely am not any smarter than I was before this.
I will reiterate that prior to my abstinence life I was drinking no more than 250mg of caffeine per day. By no means a dangerous amount. If I choose to have caffeine moving forward I am sticking to less than 50mg in a day which is equivalent to about a cup of black tea. Doable, not needed, but I do really like tea! Does coffee, tea, or whatever your poison is actually wake you up? Do you actually feel more alert? Or have you become so contingent on the habit of waking up, making coffee, and then starting your day that you truly believe it is a necessity just to get started? Habits can be life saving, but they are just repeated routines. You are what you do everyday.
Here are the things I am:
- A never before felt level of calm (probably still too high for most): I spent 20 years of my life in flight or fight mode. I am a fighter. Caffeine creates false adrenaline which makes both your mind and body believe you need to be in a constant state of alertness. I don’t shake my legs while sitting anymore, I don’t scribble or look for things to bend and snap during Zoom meeting boredom. “Calm” for me is a loose definition because I still had and have knee jerk reactions, I still would and do scream down the hallway “omg someone is so dumb”, and I still had and will have shit days. I did not magically turn into Buddha, however I did budget myself delayed reaction and the ability to think before I panic.
- My baby nervous system. Less headaches, and this is coming from a girl with titanium in her skull. My nervous system works on overdrive to keep me alive and tells my immune system to shut the Hell up on occasion. Caffeine causes the brain to believe it’s producing serotonin and dopamine, ah yes the hormones that make us happy and make us alert. However, they are imposters, your body isn’t actually making them, caffeine is just lying to you to make you believe they have a presence – like wearing underwear with butt padding. You think I have an ass but really it’s a lie. I am still very flat ass’d. Slowly, your body falls for the foolishness and creates less of its own hormones because it believes you’re paying the bar tab each day. Caffeine also causes metabolism to increase so yay for skinny people but it reduces the cerebral blood flow (by about 30%) – that’s the blood to your brain!
- Hero complex. I can do many items each day and still be successful. Accomplishments don’t have to feel heroic. Progress is progress no matter the time it takes to get there.
- My reliance on caffeine mirrored my reliance on “working better under pressure”. No one works better under pressure. Go ahead and argue with me. I will win. Better under pressure is just another way to falsify adrenaline because it’s exciting and urgent so suddenly the act is much more enthusiastic. Really, it’s just manipulation to get it done. I have found I easily get bored now. I am not falsifying adrenaline, flight or fight mode, nor entering emergency status. I just am. Things around me never were stressful, interesting, or intimidating. I just manipulated them on my own to spark my interest. I needed caffeine because I was bored. Still am most days, but now I write, podcast, do little things that bring me enjoyment. Caffeine free will yell loud and clear “you are not passionate” about whatever you previously believed “working better under pressure” items afforded you.
- I pee less. I spend less.
- The house always wins. Anything we falsify, substitute or try to mirror that the body creates naturally will have a cost.
- Challenge turned into lifestyle. I am happy. I am excited by my own doing. I am healing.
- I dream. I sleep and I dream. Real dreams. Real sleep.
Want me to dare you to try?